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Talpidae (moles and desmans; suborder Lipotyphla, superfamily Soricoidea) A family of insectivores that are adapted for burrowing. The eyes are small and in some species covered by skin, and external ears are usually absent. The fore limbs are modified (in the moles for digging, in the desmans for swimming), and the digits form shovels or paddles and can be rotated so that they project at right angles from the body. The upper molar teeth have a W-shaped pattern. The tail is short and the thick, short fur can lie in any direction. The Talpidae are distributed throughout temperate Europe and Asia, except Ireland and Norway, in south-east Asia, and in eastern and western N. America. There are 12 genera, with about 30 species.